We have a large volume of SAP jobs worldwide including across Europe. In this blog, we will be explaining the main requirements to work in countries that are part of the European Union (EU) and in other European countries that are not part of the EU. You’ll also find information about the best cities to work in tech and what is it like to live in Europe.
Work permits and visas in Europe
First things first, work permits and visas. The immigration process you’ll follow depends on the country you will be working and living in, as well as your nationality.
SAP jobs in the EU as an EU Citizen
As a national of a country within the EU, your first right is the ability to travel, live and work in any of the EU member states. For example, as a German National, you could freely travel and work in, let’s say, Spain, or any other EU country if you so wished.
As an SAP consultant, for any permanent positions or contracts longer than three months, you will be required to register yourself in the country of interest. But don’t worry, this is incredibly straightforward and can typically be done in the town hall or local police station of the country you are going to live in. During the first three months, you are not required to register but can do so if you want to in preparation for the future.
What’s worth noting is that in any EU country, you have the exact same rights as the nationals when it comes to pay, social securities and working conditions, and usually the same obligations, such as having to carry photographic ID. You won’t get into serious trouble for not carrying ID, but in some EU countries you might incur a fine.
SAP jobs in the EU as a non-EU Citizen
As a non-EU citizen, you will need sponsorship from the hiring company. Some European companies prefer avoiding the hassle of this process and therefore tend to fill a role with EU citizens if they can, but this does not mean it is impossible to get hired, if the company deem that you are the perfect fit for the role or have specialist skills or experience that are not easy to find, they will be prepared to go through the additional steps. When applying for SAP jobs, make sure you ask the recruiter if the client is willing to sponsor your visa to avoid any confusion.
If you are new to working as an SAP contractor, it might be important to note that as a non-EU citizen, it is often a lot easier to obtain visas in countries where there is a level playing field – for example in the Middle East, however, another benefit of living in the EU is that once you get a work permit and spend some time in the country, you can check your eligibility to apply for a Blue Card – a work and residence permit for highly skilled non-EU/EEA nationals who are willing to reside permanently in the EU. Of all EU countries that take part, Germany issues the most Blue Cards per year by far.
SAP jobs in non-EU countries
There are a few non-EU countries with a high number of opportunities for SAP consultants in Europe, being the most popular Switzerland and Norway.
To live in Switzerland you require a residence permit, regardless of your country of origin. The main difference is that citizens from the European Economic Area (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) can relocate to Switzerland before being issued with a residence permit which also acts as a working visa, whereas non-EEA citizens are required to obtain their residence permit as well as a working visa before entering the country. The working visa must be sponsored by a Swiss firm.
Although it might appear that the process is shorter for European citizens, as a non-EU citizen you’ll be happy to know that the visa process is relatively quick in Switzerland in comparison with other European countries. The permits will also depend on your country of origin, your skills and the immigration quotas. You can find out more about visas, taxes, working and living in Switzerland.
In Norway, residence and work permits depend on your country of origin. If you are from another Nordic country, you can move to Norway at any time and you will simply be required to report that you are living there via the National Registry, whilst if you are from the EU or EEA, you are required to register with the police within the first three months of arriving to Norway to get a registration certificate.
If you are a national from any other country, you’ll require a work permit which varies depending on your nationality. You can find more information on the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI).
Find out more about taxes, salaries, working and living in Norway.
Please note this is a general summary. Visa requirements in each country change from time to time so we recommend that you attain complete and up-to-date information from the Immigration Service or Embassy in your home country before making any work and travel plans.
Best locations in Europe to work as an SAP consultant
Now that you know what working permits you might require, let’s talk about the best locations for SAP consultants.
Although the U.S. is one of the most popular countries for the tech sector, European countries are a great location with lots of opportunities to work and develop your skills in a tech hub while having great work-life balance, get to experience a different culture, try different food and even learn a different language.
Best locations for SAP specialists
Some of the most popular European cities for the technology sector are in Germany – the home of SAP, where you’ll find a large number of roles in cities like Hamburg, Stuttgart, Munich, Cologne, Berlin and Dusseldorf. Neighbouring Germany and home to the headquarters to many of the largest organisations in the world, The Netherlands, is also one of the most popular locations with jobs available in the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Eindhoven. The UK, one of the largest economies in the world and a financial hub, is always trending with the latest technologies with lots of SAP Jobs not just in London but across the entire country. You can take a look at our SAP jobs in the UK.
Best locations for work-life balance
If there is something European countries have in common, it is the quality of life which you can find and enjoy in almost any of them, however, if you are looking for the ultimate work-life balance experience you might want to head to Norway, Denmark or Sweden, which are considered some of the countries with the best work-life balance worldwide. Nordic countries usually have a more flexible working culture and are very family orientated.
Best locations for leisure
For a relaxed lifestyle with a lively atmosphere and a great culinary experience, we recommend Mediterranean countries like Spain and Italy. There is lots to see, lots to do and lots of people to meet. You’ll not only enjoy the culture but also the weather, which tends to be much warmer than in the countries in the north of Europe. If you like to see great old and new architecture, other places we can recommend are France, Belgium and Poland.
Cost of living
Although a large number of European countries have the same currency (Euro), the cost of living varies across the continent. In regards to locations with SAP jobs, Poland, Spain and Portugal tend to be some of the most affordable countries to live in, while the UK and the Nordic countries tend to be the most expensive ones. As an SAP consultant, salaries might therefore vary also depending on the cost of living, so don’t be surprised if you see a huge difference from one country to another. You can find here a guideline of cost of living per country.
Languages in Europe
There are 24 officially recognised languages in Europe, with many of the countries having one official language and others having up to four, as it is the case of Switzerland and Luxemburg. With the exception of the UK and the Mediterranean countries, you’ll typically find a huge bilingual and multilingual population across Europe. The most widely spoken languages are German, Spanish, French, Italian and Polish, however, many Europeans also speak English, especially for business purposes and in the SAP world. Locals do appreciate however when you try to learn their local language, therefore we would still recommend trying to learn the basics, which will help you adapt to the country.
Travelling around Europe
The great thing about working in Europe is that you might be eligible for a Schengen Visa, a permit that will allow you to travel and visit most European countries whilst in the area. You will find some similarities between them whilst others can appear to be very different, especially when it comes to interaction, lifestyle and food, but you’ll always find something interesting to see or learn, as each one has its very own heritage, history and traditions.
If you are from a non-European country, you’ll probably notice that most European countries are relatively small in comparison to your home nation. This is a great advantage when travelling around Europe: it is very easy to drive around and visit other neighbouring countries or do cross border commutes. This means that if you like visiting new places, you can organise a weekend trip to a nearby city or country without much hassle. Roads are in very good condition in the most of Europe (there are strict rules to ensure safe driving, therefore ensure you familiarise yourself with the driving standards), and flying is also a popular option for weekends or short city breaks through the use of the regional charter airlines that can usually take you anywhere in Europe within 1-3 hours depending on your location.
Weather and leisure in Europe
As in the rest of the northern hemisphere, countries located in the north tend to be colder than those further south. The summer months in Europe are June to September with temperatures between 16 to 30 degrees and winter is from December to March with many countries experiencing mild or heavy snow.
Winter in Europe is a great opportunity to enjoy the scenery, skiing or snowboarding in places like the French, Swiss or Austrian Alps and why not, reindeer sledding in Nordic countries like Finland and Norway. Winter is also a great time to see the northern lights from Iceland, Sweden and Scotland amongst others.
Some of the hottest European countries are Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, which are also great destinations for beach lovers. Across Europe, locals typically enjoy summer doing outdoor activities like going for walks in the woodland, swimming and doing water sports at the beach and lakes, having a picnic in one of the thousands of parks, attend to outdoor festivals, camping or spending time in their gardens. While European towns can be quiet all year long, big cities and popular tourist destinations like Rome, Barcelona and London tend to be a lot busier during the summer, with thousands of visitors arriving from all over the world, you might want to take this in consideration if you don’t like large crowds!